White Pine’s wrestling team celebrates its fourth-straight division championship. (Photo courtesy of B.J. Almberg)

By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer

It’s becoming a common occurrence for the White Pine wrestling team. For the fourth season in a row, the Bobcats are division champs. White Pine won the Div. III Southern league tournament with 179 team points. Laughlin was second with 125 followed by West Wendover (108), Spring Mountain (78), Indian Springs (76), Lincoln County (72), Pahranagat Valley (72), Tonopah (24) and Round Mountain (0).

“Yep (it feels good),” head coach Mike Gamberg said. “We had three goals at the beginning of the year. One was to win the Divisional Duals tournament, the second was to win our fourth division championship and the third and final goal is to win state.”

The Bobcats saw first place finishes from Christopher Gamberg (106-pound), Drue Ashby (132-pounds), Ben Miller (138-pounds), Emmitt Finnicum (145-pounds), Aryton Almberg (160-pounds), Harveen Singh (182-pounds) and Wyatt Williams (195-pounds). Other highlights included a fifth place finish by Michael Gamberg (285-pounds), second place finishes by Ty Keppner (220-pounds) and Carl Henze (152-pounds), third place finishes from Robert Drain (170-pounds), a sixth place finish by Ryan Benson (126-pounds) and Joey Lyons (120-pounds) and a fourth place finish from Noah Cardinal (106-pounds).

While White Pine celebrated its fourth-straight division championship, the Bobcats will look toward accomplishing its final goal: winning state this weekend in Reno. To do that will be a difficult task facing the state’s top wrestlers.

“I will say it has to be a perfect deal for us,” Gamberg said. “Everything has to go right for us to win it, but we’ll be right in the middle of it.”

While the task may be hard, with seven No. one seeds, White Pine has a chance to be a major player in this year’s championships.

“The expectation is if they wrestle well and do what they’re supposed to do, we have a shot at winning it,” Gamberg said.

After a season filled with traveling to tournaments, often facing teams from bigger schools, the Bobcats are hoping to see the payoff from difficult competition throughout the year this weekend.

“We have wrestled teams that are above the level we’re at,” Gamberg said. “That kind of competition when you’re wrestling the tough kids every weekend, it tends to bring up your game to compete at that level. I don’t think these guys wrestled in, so to speak, the level that’s comparable with our division. They can compete at any level.”

Whether White Pine brings home a state championship as a team remains to be seen. But, no matter what happens, Gamberg said everyone from the seniors like Aryton Almberg and Wyatt Williams, to the younger wrestlers looking to learn new things, have made great strides this year.

“We have a lot of kids that have been wrestling with me for quite a while,” Gamberg said. “They know I expect certain things out of them. They all have done a great job, but if I had to pick just one, Carl Henze has matured a lot and grown up and started to figure things out. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

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